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A Temporary Committee Will Take LA City Council Redistricting Over The Finish Line

An image of LA City Councilmember Paul Krekorian. He wears eyeglasses and his mostly silver hair is combed back. He is wearing a dark, pin-striped suit jacket with a white shirt and red tie.
City Council member Paul Krekorian speaks during the Nov. 2, 2021 meeting of the Los Angeles City Council.
(Screenshot from L.A. City Channel 35)
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The L.A. City Council voted on Tuesday to create a seven-member committee to finish the process of drawing new political boundaries in the city.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Redistricting will take up the proposed maps created by L.A.’s redistricting commission, whose members were mostly appointed by the city council.

Many changes are likely in store: council members have filed 38 amending motions asking for revisions to district boundaries. Final maps have to be approved by the end of the year, per the city’s charter.

Some members of the city council have publicly criticized the resulting draft maps, signaling they want to see big revisions before voting to approve the new district boundaries.

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Councilman Paul Krekorian, for example, has been critical of how the commission dramatically reshaped San Fernando Valley districts. The proposal basically combined his CD 2 and Councilmember Nithya Raman’s CD 4 into one district, and carved a new district out of the west Valley.

Under the draft plan, either Krekorian or Raman would have to represent the new district, with entirely new voters.

“The commission chose to create a district in which a quarter of a million people will be represented by someone they never voted for.” Krekorian said. “And they won’t have an opportunity to vote for their city council person for seven years.”

Last week, commission chair Fred Ali acknowledged the draft map was already drawing criticism.

“In a city as large as Los Angeles, some people are going to be satisfied with the map, while other people are disappointed,” he said. “In a way that's to be expected. But on balance, I’m very proud of this map.”

He touted the reunification of Koreatown into a single council district, a goal long sought by K-Town political activists, as a win for the commission.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Council President Nury Martinez signaled the newly formed committee could begin work later this week.

The redistricting process happens once every 10 years, based on new population data from the U.S. Census. By law, every city council district must have roughly equal population, and the voting rights of Black, Latino and Asian American populations have to be protected.

Last week, the 21-member redistricting commission also submitted a final report recommending an overhaul of the redistricting process to make it more independent from political control, and urging a big expansion to the number of city council seats to improve the ratio of L.A.’s elected leaders to constituents.

Unlike the statewide redistricting commission that draws new legislative districts for California, where members are chosen by independent auditors, elected officials in L.A. including the mayor, city attorney and city council get to appoint members of the city’s redistricting panel.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said the council's ad hoc redistricting committee will have five members. It will actually have seven members.